The Craft of
Piano Playing DVD

“A fascinating DVD, a ‘must have’ for any pianist wishing to master their technique.”

- La Lettre du Musicien, France

Based on his book of the same name, Fraser’s first DVD uses recent advances in biomechanics to replace both tension and over-relaxation with effective hand activation based on optimal skeletal alignment.

The film promises pianists from beginners to professionals an astonishing enhancement of the colours and sonority one can draw from the instrument, and offers teachers new, effective solutions for their students’ most common technical problems.

‘A guaranteed huge improvement to your piano sound‘

- PianoNews, Germany

Fraser links musical expression to the hand’s innate structure and function to create an “absolutely natural way of moving at the piano, both powerful and flexible” (PianoNews, Germany). The Craft of Piano Playing DVD, in English with subtitles in German, French and Serbian, has detailed menus in all four languages allowing for exceptionally easy navigation to any point in the film, making it a highly effective pedagogical tool. Featuring classic exercises from the original book plus several from his more recently Honing the Pianistic Self-Image, this DVD complements the book’s in-depth investigations with an immediate, tangible experience of Alan Fraser’s teaching.

A valuable addition to any music library, The Craft of Piano Playing DVD offers insights into the hand’s innate capacities of movement and organization that will prove valuable to pianists at all levels. Teachers can use these ideas as well to develop a whole new dimension in their relationship to the piano and piano teaching.

“Fraser is an engaging and informative host”

- International Piano, Great Britian

This Detailed DVD Menu gives you an idea of its scope:

Sub-Chapters: Skeletality T’ai Chi Walking Pianistic Co-Dependence Fifth Finger Pull-Ups
The Hand’s ArchesLegato Three Point Intervention Small Hands
Fingerstands Overholding Thumb Rolling Deconstructing Octaves
The Moving Arch Practical Legato 2nd Finger Wipers The Mini Hand Flip
The Dead Bird Thumb Pushups Octave Cobra Strike
The Floating Dome Isometric Wipers Shake the Piano
Geodesic Eggshell Thumbstands The Hook
A Student’s Arch Reverse Opposition Tremolando 8ves
The Bell Hand The Thumb & Forefinger Interlocking 8ves
Grasping Function
Piano Grasping
Sub-Chapters: Counterproductive
Arm Movements
... & Swiveling Entasis Fingertapping
Stabilization & Translation Rhythmic Entasis Sound of One Hand Clapping
Phrase Shape & Orientation ... Examples The Waltz The Structure-Supported Slap
Pulse Generation Campanella I Micro-Pauses Eliminate Swiveling
Arm Weight Campanella II Melodic Entasis Differentiate
Fingers & Hand
The Bird Beak Jeux d’eau Dynamic Entasis Out the Back Door
The Arm Swing Op 10 #1 Listening Lift the Fingers
The Arm as a Whole Finger Op 10#9 Conclusion
Waltz Accompaniments

A press release from December, 2006:

DVD version of Alan Fraser’s landmark book, The Craft of Piano Playing: A New Approach to Piano Technique

Maple Grove Music Productions is pleased to announce the DVD release of The Craft of Piano Playing: A New Approach to Piano Technique, a film by Canadian pianist Alan Fraser.

The film presents a series of exercises designed to strengthen the hand’s sense of structure and function, increasing both the power and sensitivity, the relaxation and agility of one’s technique. It addresses technical problems in the new light of recent advances in the science of biomechanics, showing how some of the standard movements in classical piano technique work against the natural structural alignments of the hand’s skeleton. Drawing on chapters from his book of the same name published in 2003, Fraser’s film promises an astonishing enhancement of the colours and sonority one can draw from the instrument.

Piano technique with a sense of humour

The film is of interest to non-pianists as well, not only because it presents a fascinating look at the inner workings of a pianist’s hands, but also because it offers new, practical help to computer operators and others with tendonitis problems. And it is fun to watch, as Fraser’s congenial camera presence never lets his subject matter turn dry – his wry sense of humour often helps illustrate a point.

In Montreal Fraser strikes a blow for transcendant piano technique

In the late 1980’s, concert pianist Alan Fraser conceived the goal of developing a new approach to playing and teaching piano that would grow out of the Feldenkrais Method of neuromuscular re-education. In 1990, soon after embarking on a professional training in the Method, he moved to Yugoslavia to collaborate with virtuoso Kemal Gekich. Their auspicious meeting in 1988 caused a stir when Gekich, the crowd and critics’ favourite, was eliminated from the final round of the Montreal International Piano Competition and Fraser, in protest, organized a free recital that raised $2000 to be presented to Gekich as the “People’s Prize” of the competition.

A country at war, an artist at work

War-torn Yugoslavia in the 1990’s is hardly the place one would expect a new piano technique to develop, but the artists, sequestered in the walls of the 16th century fortress at Petrovaradin on the Danube, turned their isolation to advantage, pooling their ideas and working with a talented group of young pianists at the Art Academy of the University of Novi Sad, co-producer of the film.

Controversial? Yes. Radical? Certainly. Tranformative? Absolutely.

As with any new approach, some controversy surrounds Fraser’s discoveries, which occasionally seem to fly in the face of accepted dogma. Thus the film opens with a cautionary note that the exercises, done in a superficial way can aggravate injury, but approached systematically not only offer a breakthrough in the technique of healthy pianists, but also effectively resolve many performance injury problems.